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Wed, 2010-12-15 08:22Chris Mooney
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What’s Hot in Climate Science Today? Communicating

San Francisco–Here at the 19,200 scientist American Geophysical Union fall meeting, you can sample any aspect of Earth and planetary science that you like. The proceedings provide, among other things, a dream roster for Hollywood disaster movies in the making. You’ve got volcano experts, earthquake experts, hurricane experts, and on and on.

But you also have a new and different focus: Scientists out here, especially climate scientists but also those who study natural hazards and many other fields, are increasingly dedicated to figuring out how to reach non-scientists with what they know. They’ve learned the hard way, through events like “ClimateGate,” that it doesn’t just happen automatically. If anything, it un-happens.

Wed, 2010-12-08 06:54Chris Mooney
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Still Awaiting Our Global Warming "Scopes Trial"

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Republicans in the U.S. Congress are gearing up to block any major move by the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gases–even though the Supreme Court ordered the agency to do so back in 2007. And even though the Congress itself is clearly not going to do anything else to address the problem in the next two years.

But yesterday we learned there’s a paradox at the heart of this obstructionist strategy. If the EPA doesn’t act or is hamstrung–and if Congress continues to dawdle–then guess what? A new global warming case just taken up by the Supreme Court may therefore stand a better chance of surviving the highest level of review—thus providing another possible way of restricting and punishing the polluters who are contributing to climate change.

Wed, 2010-12-01 12:06Chris Mooney
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How Partisan is Climate Denial?

It was the chief environmental narrative of the 2010 midterm elections. The field of Republican Senate and House challengers, charged bloggers, were a bunch of “climate zombies.” Tea Party backed insurgents were knocking off GOP moderates who took climate science seriously—like Delaware’s Mike Castle—and it was becoming harder and harder to find a good Republican who did accept the scientific consensus on climate change.

Then, when Republicans swept into the House of Representatives, fears about the party’s denialist tendencies compounded further. There was word of “ClimateGate” hearings, aimed at prying loose additional emails and documents from mainstream global warming researchers. Whether or not such hearings actually take place, a vision of today’s U.S. Republican Party as monolithically in denial about what we’ve been doing to the planet has clearly taken root.

It was all, apparently, more than the stalwart Republican moderate Sherwood (“Sherry”) Boehlert could take.

Mon, 2010-11-22 15:48Chris Mooney
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Will the New Congress Subpoena Climate Scientists?

Originally posted at DiscoverMagazine.com.
Multiple investigations over the last year have failed to uncover any serious wrongdoing in the year old “ClimateGate” fiasco over climate researchers’ pilfered emails. Substantively, the matter is dead. But politically is quite another matter—it remains to be seen how long “ClimateGate” can walk the earth as a zombie.

There have already been attempts to reawaken the corpse. Most prominently, Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli launched a harassing investigation of famed climate researcher Michael Mann’s career at the University of Virginia, demanding a wide range of emails and documents. And since the November 2 elections, there have been concerns that the new Republican Congress may join in the rite. Several top House Republicans have indicated that they may want to hold “Climategate” hearings (although more recently, there has been some apparent backing away from this idea).

The question now becomes whether incoming Republicans will follow through on such plans—or if it’s all just a head feint. If they’re serious, they can expect a powerful response from scientists, much like the strong mobilization against Cuccinelli organized by the Union of Concerned Scientists, the American Association of University Professors, and many others.

Thu, 2008-12-18 09:05Chris Mooney
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Where Is Barack Obama's Global Warming Adaptation Plan?

I know, I know: If you support “adaptation” in the global warming debate, you run the risk of being mistaken for someone who opposes “mitigation.” But I’m not one of those adaptation-only Bjorn Lomborg types.

I support both capping emissions, and also getting ready for climate change, because I believe the science is clear: We have to do something, fast, to prevent the worst outcomes; but we’re already so far down the global warming path that there will be many changes we can no longer stop, and must live with - and so must prepare for.

But my question is, where is Barack Obama on all of this?

Thu, 2008-12-11 07:13Chris Mooney
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Chuse Science

Late yesterday, reports started zinging around suggesting that the Obama transition team was ready to announce its energy and environment leaders.

By now it’s clear they are the following: former New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection commissioner Lisa Jackson will head up the Environmental Protection Agency; current Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory director Steven Chu will become Secretary of Energy; and Clinton administration EPA head Carol Browner will fill a newly created post, that of White House “climate czar.” In addition, Nancy Sutley, the current City of Los Angeles “deputy mayor” for Energy and Environment (and, of these four, the person with the thinnest Wikipedia profile), will come in as chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Read more: Chuse Science

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